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BellBird Mining Disaster : 10-July-2011
BellBird Mining Disaster : 10-July-2011

Photographs supplied by Roger Johnson

Monument in memorial park near the site of the old Bellbird Colliery commemorates the men who lost their lives in the Bellbird Mining Disaster of 1923. 

In September 1923, explosions and fires underground killed 20 men and their horses. Another man, John Brown, the manager at Aberdare, died in the rescue attempt. Working conditions at the time were very poor. The unionised workforce had pressed for central rescue stations in the mines but their pleas were ignored. Some did not even have safety lamps.

A terrible explosion occurred at the Bellbird Colliery, one of the busiest on the Maitland coalfields, on Saturday last. The disaster occurred in No. 3 section of the mine, shortly after 2 p.m. The death toll totals 21, of whom 15 were brought to the surface by rescuers. There are still six at the bottom of the mine, but all hopes of rescue have been abandoned. A shift comprising 30 men went down at 1 o'clock, and exactly an hour later an employee saw volumes of curling thick black smoke belching forth from the fan-shaft.  He immediately rushed to the engineer'`s quarters, and in a few moments the news of the fire spread throughout the field, and it was not long before the distracted wives, children and relatives of the entombed miners had reached the tunnelmouth of the mine, and terrible scenes were witnessed as the bodies were brought out of the tunnel. The mine will have to be totally closed down for probably six months, according to local opinion, in order to allow the fires to burn themselves out. Seven hundred men will be thrown out of work. John Brown, manager of the Aberdare colliery, lost his life while carrying out rescue work. 
Western Grazier (Wilcannia, NSW)  8 September 1923. 

Location

Address:Wollombi Road & Kendall Street, Bellbird Miners Memorial Park, Bellbird, 2325
State:NSW
Area:AUS
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -32.860161
Long: 151.319678
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Details

Monument Type:Monument
Monument Theme:Disaster
Sub-Theme:Industrial
Actual Event STart Date:01-September-1923
Actual Event End Date:01-September-1923

Dedication

Actual Monument Dedication Date:Saturday 1st September, 1990
Front Inscription

BELLBIRD MINE DISASTER
            MEMORIAL 
This Memorial Stands
Opposite The Site Of Bellbird Colliery,
Where, On Saturday September 1st 1923
Explosions And Fires Underground
Cost The Lives Of 21 Men
25,000 People Attended The Following Mass Funeral 
This Appalling Disaster
Resulted In The Formation Of
The Industry's Central Mines Rescue Stations.
— Those Who Died —
            (names)

Dedicated By The Northern District
  Miners Womens Auxilliary
      September 1st 1990.

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au
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